As Welsh people around the world raise a toast to the greatest figure in the Welsh Age of Saints we ask who was St. David, what is St. David’s Day and what are its traditions?
St. David’s Day is the feast day of Saint David, the patron saint of Wales. The feast falls on 1 March each year to commemorate the date of St. David’s death in 589 AD. Some St. David’s Day customs include the wearing of daffodils and leeks, as well as enjoying traditional Welsh dishes such as rarebit.
The leek became a symbol of the Welsh spirit because St. David reportedly told the Welsh to wear leeks in a battle against the Saxons to avoid friendly fire. Although it isn’t a public holiday in the UK, some Welsh towns will hold parades.
Google has made a tradition of celebrating St. David’s Day with commemorative Google Doodles on its homepage. Today the Doodle depicts The Welsh Dragon, the symbol that appears on Wales’ national flag.
Who was St. David?
Most of what is known about Saint David is hard to verify and comes from stories written by scholars from centuries ago. Based on the works of scholar Rhigyfarch, BucheddDewi, St David is thought to have been born around 500 AD in Pembrokeshire.
According to the works, he performed plenty of miracles, including restoring the sight of his teacher and creating an entirely new hill (now the village of Llanddewi Brefi) during a sermon. He became a renowned missionary in Wales and is credited with founding monasteries in his homeland and across the South West of England. He was named the Archbishop of Wales at the Synod of Brefi church council in 550 and it’s thought he died on 1 March in 589 AD.
‘Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus.’
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